Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
The parable of the prodigal son shows the beauty of God’s compassion and mercy.
Whilst it is a very familiar passage, I am struck by the character of the older brother.
He is resentful of the joyful welcome that the younger son receives.
I can understand the older brother’s frustration; he never broke any rules, and he has been working hard whilst his younger brother has spent his inheritance.
I know myself that I have been guilty of not celebrating in someone else’s joy. It is all too easy to see reflected in someone else’s joy, the image of what you don’t have or one of loss.
The fact my friend has bought a house reflects the fact I am renting or their promotion reflects the frustration in my job.
Last year I attended a refugee welcome march. Whilst it was fantastic to witness people coming together in solidarity, I was shocked by the negative and hurtful messages I was being sent on twitter which focused on what we might lose as a result of welcoming refugees.
The relationship between the two brothers in the prodigal son is a challenge to us to think about how we might recognise each other as sisters and brothers, with a shared humanity.
Instead of seeing someone else’s gain as our loss we are our challenged to celebrate with them and to share their joy.